Student-led tutoring programs helpful but not always perfect

The primary goal for student tutors, many of whom are in honors societies, is primarily to help less-advanced students understand and grasp a concept in a class.

In addition, since all the students in a class learn the same material, student tutoring is helpful because it can strengthen the understanding of both the tutor and the tutee.

“Tutoring is essential because it benefits both the tutors and the students they are helping. You do not truly know the material unless you can teach it to someone else,” senior Zoe Scopa said.

As well as the benefits tutors can gain from reviewing material, many recieve community service hours for tutoring, helping them to meet requirements for honors societies.

“Tutoring relationships…[have] benefitted both students, since community service hours are always permitted,” said Miranda Handershot, faculty co-advisor of the Math Honors Society (MHS).

According to senior Alexander Nguyen, these relationships continue to help struggling students even when their tutors stand to gain community service hours.

“If you’re doing it for the tutoring points, you could just sit down and talk about random stuff,” senior Alexander Nguyen said. “People who are really good at tutoring make sure that the person gets it and achieves the point of tutoring.”

Student tutors who truly help their tutees can also lighten teachers’ workloads.

“There are plenty of struggling students in math rooms every day who could use a little guidance, assistance, or tutoring that the teacher may not always be able to provide,” Hendershot said.

However, according to Hendershot, the student tutoring system is not always managed carefully. MHS hopes to fix this problem, allowing tutors to serve where they are most needed.

“I do think [tutoring] is a good thing, but it needs some restructuring,” Hendershot said. “We are trying to have students sign up to be in a specific classroom–not with a teacher they may know, or in a classroom with high-achieving students.”

At times when there are shortages of students who need to be tutored, the points requirements for some honor societies leave students with no choice but to continue tutoring.

“A lot of the times, because of the SNHS requirement, if you can’t find a tutor, you tutor each other,” Nguyen said. “In a way, it really helps with review.”

However, some consider this a flawed system. Scopa says that SNHS is working towards a system in which tutors will be able to focus more on the student body and less on helping each other.

“A lot of the SNHS members are [constantly] looking for people to tutor, and something we are working toward this year is raising awareness of our tutoring program so that the student body knows where they can find help in their science classes,” Scopa said.

Because it lacks training for tutors, the tutoring system relies largely on personal accountability. This dependence opens it to the possibility of irresponsibility by tutors, although Scopa says that tutors generally work only with material they can teach well.

“We do not have any particular training for our tutors, but we trust that our SNHS members will help out with what they are comfortable with,” Scopa said.